Happy New Year and New Decade my lovelies!
Astrologically the energy of 2018 and 2019 was very much about unraveling, learning, healing and growth… a period of cocooning and preparation. We uncovered some hard truths, scratched at old wounds, broke down, stumbled… We also gathered new skills, up-levelled, rebuilt… It’s been a long time coming: for the world, for our tribes, for ourselves… We have reached the brink…and the time is NOW. It’s time to show up like we’ve never shown up before – authentically and passionately. There’s no more dress rehearsal. THIS IS IT!
For me that meant no more trying to juggle the film industry and Bespoke Body. It meant letting go of my career of the past 12 years. No more excuses. No more time to waste.
So here I am. Ready to “put myself out there.” Ready to fulfil my Dharma (purpose). Fully committed to serving you and ready to throw all my time and energy into all things health, fitness and wellbeing! YAY!
Many of you may be feeling the pressure of “New Year New Me” / New Year’s Resolutions / Diet diet diet / Train for the Olympics / Transform into a unicorn … I understand. I’ve been there. The New Year rolls around and you feel compelled to completely reinvent yourself in Extreme Makeover style. Please DON’T.
There’s nothing wrong with the current you. You are a magnificent divine creation. Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve oneself (hello that’s my whole business!) but there’s a right and stupid (read unsustainable) way of going about it.
What NOT to do:
Buy diet pills or teas or anything marketed as a “miracle pill”. These are usually just laxatives or diuretics or amphetamines. Any results you see won’t be permanent and you also risk dehydration and putting excessive strain on your heart and other organs. Stupid.
Commit to an unrealistic exercise regime. You risk injury and overtraining which could result in adrenal fatigue. Again stupid.
Give up everything at once. Errrrr… unless you’ve run off to join a nunnery… probs not sustainable.
Starve. Ummmm… also not very sustainable and will probably lead to an equal and opposite reaction – i.e binge eating
Obsessively weigh, measure or photograph yourself. Progress takes time. Do this once a month.
Ok so now that we’ve got what NOT to do out of the way, what should you do?
What to DO:
Set realistic and measurable goals. These are called S.M.A.R.T goals which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Make a list of your goals and see how they can fit into each of these criteria.
Make small changes. This applies to both eating and exercise. If you’re used to eating sugar and dairy every day, can you cut your intake in half, or swap your dairy milk to a plant based milk, or only have refined sugar on the weekend. If you’re training 3 days a week, how about adding an extra day? Maybe aim for getting 10 000 steps in every day, or taking the stairs whenever possible. Small, consistent changes add up over time. If you’re already eating pretty well, could you maybe increase the variety of plant foods you’re eating, or how about adding an adaptogen or nootropic supplement to optimise your wellbeing? If you’re already fit, how about signing up for a race or trying a new fitness class? The possibilities are endless.
Ask for help. Be accountable. Whether you announce your new wellness intentions on social media, find a fitness buddy or employ a health coach or personal trainer – having someone to encourage, educate and inspire you to stick to your goals is one of the most valuable tools for success.
SELF-CARE SELF-LOVE SELF-CARE – No matter what you’re doing, do it from a place of deep self-love. The intention and energy behind any action will determine the outcome. I know this from personal experience. When I’ve dieted and exercised from a place of self-loathing and punishment , even though I lost the weight, I was never happy and it was never sustainable. Listen to your body. Show it kindness and it will love you back. Treat yourself, take care. Self-care is not only about spa days and face-masks. Self-care can mean reading a book, doing a meditation, cooking yourself a nourishing meal or sleeping in.
Take your time. Wellness is a lifelong, constantly evolving journey. It’s not a sprint.
I hope you’ve taken something useful away from this post (or maybe you know someone who should read this!)
I wish you all the healthiest, happiest and most abundant year ever.
I can’t wait to help, inspire and be here for you.
Love and Blessings
What is lymph and why would we want to drain it?
I’ll just give you guys a simple overview – if you want to dive deeper, there are many amazing videos on YouTube about the lymphatic system.
Our lymphatic system is responsible for transporting and screening interstitial fluids and removing toxins and waste from our body. If our lymphatic system is functioning optimally, we will have fewer toxins circulating in our bodies, a stronger immune system, better stress response and better overall circulation. If our lymphatic system is sluggish, toxins and waste can build up, leading to various illnesses, allergies, serious diseases, brain fog, cellulite and water retention. Not good.
There are various ways to keep our lymphatic system is tip-top condition. I’ll go over a few of my faves…
Regular movement and exercise – being sedentary is the absolute worst thing for your lymphatic system. Actually it’s probably one of the worst things for your overall health and wellbeing, so stop sitting and get moving! Rebounding is particularly beneficial to the lymphatic system and it’s a wonderful low-impact and fun way of exercising. Don’t stress if you don’t have access to a trampoline, any kind of movement is beneficial. If you’re low on motivation, or need some professional guidance, get in touch and we can schedule one-on-one training or even partner and group exercise sessions. Try to break a sweat on a daily basis – saunas and hot baths count too for a more passive sweat and detox.
Dry brushing with a firm bristle body brush. This is an amazing and inexpensive home treatment that you can do on the daily. Brush your entire body in long sweeping motions. Start at your feet and always brush towards your heart. Best done on dry skin before a bath or shower. You’re guaranteed to see an improvement in the texture and quality of your skin due to improved circulation. It also feels extra invigorating when done just before a cold shower!
Hydrate – If your body isn’t sufficiently hydrated, it won’t be able to transport and eliminate toxins – that’s your lymphatic system’s role. Make sure you’re drinking quality clean spring, filtered or mineral water (preferably not from a plastic bottle!) You can also add a tiny pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt to your water for extra minerals. Lemon water is also a wonderful alkalising and detoxifying aid.
Loosen up – your clothing that is! Tight, constrictive clothing doesn’t allow your lymph to circulate properly. Try to wear looser clothing in natural fabrics. If you do have to wear something tight – exercise clothes for example – try to change out of them as soon as possible. Ladies, tight bras that constrict the lymph flow around our breasts and where we have very big and important lymph nodes and glands are obviously not great to wear every day for hours on end. Try to find wireless bras and go braless or wear a softer support camisole whenever possible!
Cupping – I’ve been using silicone cups to massage my legs and bum at home to aid circulation and improve the appearance of cellulite. They feel really nice; I can see them working and it’s also great for muscle recovery after a workout. I use this brand.
Lymph Drainage Massage – While any kind of massage will be beneficial for your circulation, lymph drainage is where it’s at for really detoxing and aiding the lymphatic system. I discovered Ana at Yin & You late last year, and she’s been a game changer! Proper lymph drainage massage is super light and gentle and I find it supremely relaxing. Within four sessions, I could see an amazing difference in the quality of my skin, how I felt energetically and my water retention levels definitely decreased.
Eating whole, unprocessed foods, smart supplementation, managing stress levels and not consuming excess amounts of alcohol and other toxins are some more ways to support a healthy lymphatic system.
Hope you found this helpful. Do you have any questions? Which of these methods do you use to support your lymphatic system?
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” used to be my motto, but these days I’m totally dead if I don’t sleep!
It used to be a badge of honour for people to announce how little sleep they were getting – like, “look how busy and productive I am and I only sleep for 4 hours a night.” Ten years ago, I would either not think about how much sleep I was getting; or I’d be getting very poor quality sleep, or I’d be avoiding sleep all together! Anyone else gone straight from a party to work the next day? Oh, me neither…
I don’t know how I used to cope, (I guess being in your 20s helps) because these days, anything less than 6/6,5 hours and I am wiped. I can literally feel my brain and body shutting down, not to mention the dull grey hue my skin takes on.
The optimal number of hours of sleep varies from person to person, but most adults thrive on between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. I’m good on about 7 or 8 – sometimes 9 if I’ve been exerting myself. Studies have shown that when one has been awake for longer than 17 hours or has had less than 6 hours of sleep, one’s brain function is the equivalent of being legally intoxicated. So many people are going about their days – working, driving, dealing with children – basically drunk!
Read this article… scary!
When it comes to sleep, it’s not only about the number of hours that you’re physically in bed or think that you’re sleeping that matter – the QUALITY of your sleep is extremely important to your wellbeing and ability to perform optimally mentally, physically and emotionally.
Sleep is a magical time when the brain and body get to do “housekeeping”. Resting and repairing you, so that you look and FEEL your very best the next day. Getting optimal sleep also lowers cortisol levels, which in turn lowers a lot of inflammation in the body. If you’ve been eating well and exercising, but you’re still not reaching your weight/fat loss goals, sleep could be the missing link!
Over the last few years I have adopted quite a few sleep hacks and developed my own little sleep routine, so that most days I wake up feeling refreshed and energised… Let’s dive in!
1: Preparation is key!
You can’t be go go go all day and then just expect your brain and body to switch off in a few moments. At least an hour before bed I try to dim my lights and avoid bright screens. Apple have a handy settling which automatically dims my phone screen as soon as the sun goes down. Harsh light, especially blue light, trick the body into thinking it’s still daytime and therefor inhibit melatonin (our sleep hormone) production. I also switch my phone onto airplane mode ideally an hour before I want to sleep. No late night messaging or work emails in bed! If you wake up in the middle of the night, avoid the urge to check your phone or switch on bright lights!
2: Create a sleep haven.
A comfortable bed, good quality bedding, a really good pillow are absolute musts for getting a good night’s sleep. This is one area where it’s really worthwhile to spend a bit more if you can! The right room temperature is super important too. Try to keep your bedroom well ventilated and slightly cool. I’m not a big fan (haha!) of sleeping with air-con, but each to their own…
3: Absolute darkness & quiet.
I don’t have black out curtains in my bedroom, so I’ve gotten used to sleeping with an eye mask. They say that even a tiny LED light somewhere in your bedroom can disrupt deep sleep. I find that putting an eye mask on also stops my eyelids from fluttering open when I get into bed, so I fall asleep faster. Try to avoid synthetic fibres… fit and feel really matter here.
If you live in the city or you’re a light sleeper, earplugs are another must have! My sleep quality changed 1000% when I discovered these earplugs: I have to order them online and they’re quite pricey, but SO worth it! If I can’t get my hands on those, I will use any moldable silicon, wax and cotton blend ones I can find at the pharmacy. I feel like the wax/silicon/cotton ones block out more sound and stay in the ear better than those silly foam ones! I’ve also found that once my earplugs are in and my eye mask is in place, I fall asleep so much faster and get much deeper sleep!
If you’re not into ear plugs, maybe some white noise or sleep music will be helpful. There’s a Sleep section on my favourite Insight Timer meditation app, which includes some lovely sleep music.
4: Wind down…
This means trying to eat your dinner at least 2-3 hours before bed time. This gives your body time to digest your food before you hit the hay – trying to fall asleep with a full stomach can be uncomfortable and also stops your body from doing its other “rest and repair” clean up duties properly.
Winding down also means not watching overly stimulating movies or TV shows right before bed (revert back to tip number 1!) Rather light some candles, run a bath, listen to relaxing music, read a book, journal or meditate…”A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow” – Charlotte Brontë Clearing your head really helps one to fall asleep faster.
5: Get comfortable.
For some this may mean a beautiful nighty or sleep shirt; for others their birthday suit! Try to avoid synthetic fibres, as these don’t allow your skin to breathe. Try not to sleep in anything too tight or restricting – not good for your circulation and it can also be super annoying and hard to relax if your sleepwear is digging into you, too hot, too scratchy, etc. I love a silky pajama set – the very act of changing into my Pjs makes me feel relxed.
A massage (this can be self-massage) relieves tension and releases feel good hormones, which switches your parasympathetic (rest and digest mode) nervous system on. Having an orgasm is another great way to sleep better. Once again, this can be self-administered! 🙂 Don’t be shy!
7: Helpful herbs.
I’m not opposed to using herbs, teas, superfoods and other adaptogens to help me wind down, destress and sleep deeply. Some of my favourites include: reishi mushroom, camomile, ashwaganda, valerian, passionflower, magnesium and lavender. Sometimes I’ll enjoy a “sleepy tea”, sometimes I like to whip up a creamy bedtime tonic… and sometimes I’ll just pop a magnesium pill or in more “desperate times” I’ll resort to a melatonin pill. If you’d like some recipe inspiration for bedtime tonics – you’ll find a bunch on my Instagram highlights reel “Elixirs/Tonics”. Try to empty your bladder just before bed, so that you don’t have to wake up to pee unnecessarily!
And there you have it… I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Let me know if you have any other helpful sleep tricks! I’m ready for bed. Sweet dreams xoxo
Hey hey hey! It's been a long, long minute since I last did a blog post! Life has been a bit cray, cray! I write to you from Morocco, where I'll be working for the next few months. Exciting and unexpected! The good news is that I am still very much available for...
Happy birthday to Bespoke Body! I can't believe it has been a whole 365 days since I launched my baby out into the world. Wow what a year it has been... I was and still am juggling Bespoke Body with my full time job in the film industry... which is A LOT. There have...
Hello lovelies! It's been a very long while. I'm sorry for the lack of blog posts, but if you'd like to stay tuned with all that's happening in my life and for daily nuggets of health wisdom, please be sure to follow along on my @bespokebody Instagram page which is...
Hello lovelies! I hope this week is treating you well! I am about to go for a skin peel for the first time! Eeeek! I’ll report back once my skin has settled! I get asked a lot of questions about my skin. It didn’t always used to look this way… My skin used to constantly be broken out, dehydrated and dull. As with all things health related, I like to take an holistic approach to tackling a “problem”. I
Hello loves! Hope this week is treating you well so far!
Another smoothie recipe?! Yup. Sorry not sorry! This one was too good not to share! Who loves cake? Me! Who loves smoothies? Also me! Well here’s a healthy smoothie that tastes like red velvet cake. Yay. Winning!
Hello lovelies! Hope life is treating you well. I have been enjoying being fully immersed in all things Bespoke Body for the last few weeks. Spring has definitely sprung in Cape Town and it has been a treat training some clients outside near the sea and soaking up some vitamin D!
Anyone who’s followed me for a little while will know that my love of smoothies runs DEEP! Gone are the days (well at least for me), where smoothies consisted of a ton of sugary fruit, yoghurt, cows milk and maybe some whey protein powder. Those kind of smoothies were nutritionally imbalanced sugar bombs:
Hello loves!This will be a quickieWant a little insight into the woman behind Bespoke Body (me!)? Then please trot on over to Shine Media to check out my interview! I really enjoyed answering #bizbabe Sam’s questions for her blog.
Hello lovely readers! Hope that you are all well and happy. I’m trying to find my groove after a 3-day Vipassana meditation sit. It was short and sweet, but still managed to rattle the cages of my body and mind. I have a few weeks free from film work, so yesterday I sat down and set lots of goals for myself and for Bespoke Body.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER!
Call Oona! +27 83 556 3630